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Angelic Society

The Angelic Society and the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

In 1470, in Venice, the existence of an organisation known as “The Fog” or “The Angelic Society” was reported. It is the same period when Colonna is a prominent citizen of that town. It is a secret, alchemical society, also known under the more Latin name of Voarchadumia. This word, invented for this purpose (like so much of the Hypnerotomachia), means “gold of two perfect cementations”, or “gold twice refined”. It is derived from a Chaldean word meaning “gold” and a Hebrew expression which means “on top rubies”. The organisation is described as a society in which the members, practitioners of alchemy, try to create an ideal “State”, using the principles of the Kaballah. The programme also states that schools and academies should teach the Kaballah. Furthermore, the laws of this State need to be adapted in such a way that they are based on Wisdom and not on Power. Such visions of a new State and a new age, were quite common in late 15th century Italy. (…)

The AA, like the “Compagnie” explains to its members that it has to protect “the Secret” – with capital S – at any cost. The “manual” for the members needs to be read and speaks of a rigour which we would expect to find in a training manual for the intelligence agencies or a terrorist camp: do not tell the secret to anyone, not even to your confessor, or a member of your family. When meeting a comrade in public, do not speak about the organisation and definitely do not say anything whatsoever at all related to it to a stranger or in the presence of a stranger. The manual explains how to work with passwords; how to protect and, if necessary, destroy your cell without leaving a single trace, etc. With such a structure in place, it is clear that whatever the secret it is that the AA tried to protect, the members took their mission very seriously. It also explains why the organisation was largely successful in keeping its existence so silent… and why the nature of their secret – Secret – has so far never been discovered.

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